Tearing Down Celebrity With A Simple Photo

The end of the Michael Jackson molestation trial sparked a predictable run of outrage in the tabloid papers which had already convicted the pop star in their pages. Phil Kennicott says that the use of celebrity photos to tear down individuals deemed to be too big for their britches has been elevated to a horrifying art form in recent years. “The camera is the weapon of last resort against celebrity. The camera is, of course, essential to the making of celebrities, but it can also break them with extraordinary speed and efficiency. The perp walk, the mug shot and photographs such as those [of Jackson] that ran yesterday are a populist scourge against people who are presumed to live by laws more lax and accommodating than those to which mere mortals are subject.”